Macau's Role In The Gambling World

Gambling analysts have declared Macau as the new gambling capital of the world. Overtaking the uncontested gambling capital since Bugsy Malone opened the Flamingo Casino in the 1940's, Las Vegas in the city of Nevada.

The local government reported that the 22 casinos in the small Chinese city in the south generated total gross revenues of 56.2 billion patacas (or US$7.2 billion) last year compared to the famous Las Vegas strip casinos with revenues of US$6.6 billion. Although Macau edged Las Vegas by a slight margin, it was enough to oust the former to second place.

In October 2006 analysts leaked out tips that the city had surpassed Las Vegas based on earnings projections. Six months later, in April, GDP figures confirmed the story and had the city officials talking about the momentous development.

The decision of the government to end the monopoly of gambling by tycoon Stanley Ho in 2001 spurred the casino investment boom in the city. It allowed foreign investors to move in and bring in their brand of casino gaming into the former Portuguese colony.

Only less than an hour away from tourist destination Hong Kong, the influx of people to Macau has increased dramatically. With Sands, the Venetian and Wynn attracting tourists with it's over the top and grandiose scale, the city is hoping to attract more that just the day trippers from China but shoppers and businessmen who will stay for more than a day like in Las Vegas.

This onslaught of glitz and glamour has the once sleepy town in a shower of attention. The only place in China that gambling is legal; it is still associated with its former underground and criminal activities. One economist from Macau University, who specializes in the gambling business, said that opening the industry to the mass market will reduce its connection to the underworld. Much like what happened to Las Vegas.

The main threat now lies with China's communist leaders and its concern over the citizens and corrupt officials gambling most of their wealth in these casinos. One analyst said that whatever the government does to restrict them, people will still find their way into Macau.

Truly it will be hard to stop Macau into becoming the world's biggest gambling destination. In fact, it is just getting started. With businessmen planning to invest in more casinos in the next couple of years, there is no stopping Macau from being the new gambling city of the world.